Sunday, March 20, 2011

St Patrick's Day "Pattys Galore"-- A Recipe for Disaster.

I'm back in Atlanta after celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Savannah. It has the second largest St. Patrick's day parade in the world I am told. They have a custom in Savannah; of families of Irish origin from the town, marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade. It was great to see all generations of the one family marching together, proudly strutting down the street. Sometimes they glided by on floats replete with comfortable chairs; for the older members of the family. Near enough to where we watched the parade was "the Irish Green"; where people from the surrounding Irish neighbourhood used to often assemble for diversion and the likes. It seems they still do -- though in sorely depleted numbers -- they must have all been marching!

"The Shamrock Lounge" taken on the Irish Green. Pity about the wonky spelling of "ceol agus craic aneso." 
It looks like there was neither ceol nor craic but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. We passed by at the wrong time I'm sure!

For curiosity's sake, we walked down by the riverfront and River Street, where the majority of the festive madness was taking place. It took us a good half hour to traverse the length of the street. The thoroughfare was thronged with people dressed in green, some in various states of undress. Most notable of the scantily clad folk, were a group of strippers outside one pub, valiantly trying to entice people into the premises with their gyrations.
Having enough of the madness we wandered towards the center of town, where we came across a mighty Irish bar called "O' Connell's". It was the quietest Irish bar in Savannah, and the only authentic one as far as I could see. The place serves no food--which is always a good barometer for a decent Irish bar (for better or worse!). The owner is a young fella called Dan O' Connell, Dan plays Irish music and tries to make the place accommodating to Irish musicians, like any decent publican and public house at home.

I've lately been collecting words of Irish Gaelic origin in American English. I saw a fair few people in Savannah with green t-shirts emblazoned with "Hooligan" and it reminded me of this expression's Irish origin! The t-shirts are to be found in Walmart -- along with Drunken Leprechaun wine and other such Cultural gems of "St Patty's Day".

Hooligan - From the Irish surname "O' hUllacháin"- pronounced o hoo lich awn.

Shinangans -- From "sin anachain" -- pronounced Shin on a kin which means -- thats trouble/devilish behaviour. Anachain's most common meaning is -- disaster -- but it also can mean trouble.

Clan/klan -- From "clann" -- pronounced k lown. It means family.

Bogey Man -- From "púca"/"púcaí" -- Which in Irish is a type of spirit (of the other worldly variety not the spirits you imbibe that is). Pronounced -- Poo ka/poo kee, poo ka being singular, poo kee being plural.

Baby (as in darling) -- From  Báb -- Slang for a girl, a young attractive one that is. Pronounced -- Baw b.  I've heard it used in poems of Eoghan Rua from the 1700's, and báb is still in use; for instance in the Irish for "Hen Night" -- coisír na mbáb (literally girls party).

To brag -- From "bréag" -- which means to lie. Pronounced -- bray a g.

Galore -- From "go leor" -- which means lots of. Pronounced gu lore.

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